Our Past

“Charity is charity when you can afford it the least, not when you can afford it the most”
 Kishinchand Chellaram (1880 – 1951)

The origins of Chellaram Foundation can be traced back to Kishinchand Chellaram Educational Trust established in 1948 by the late grandfather of Lal Chellaram.  From the humble beginnings as a textile merchant from a bazaar in Hyderabad, this unassuming, spiritual family man with strong ethical principles, a sharp mind but little formal education, went on to build a substantial international trading network with operations in Japan, China, US, UK, Spain and Africa.  

For Kishinchand Chellaram there was ultimately no distinction between business and charity.  Both were undertaken as a spiritual responsibility.  Both required long-term investment to generate the greatest return and both had the potential to do tremendous good.  

Kishinchand recognised the value of investment in education to lift those without privilege to break free from the chains of their circumstances.  Education continues to be one of the cornerstones of Chellaram Foundation with investments made in schools, training programmes and providing scholarships. 

Kishinchand also gave freely without hesitation to those he saw in need around him stemming from a deep sense of compassion – for the calamity facing a widowed mother of a young child or the orphan left to fend for herself on the streets.  

Kishinchand’s youngest son, Lokumal, took up the mantle, expanding the global business founded by his father and extending his philanthropic reach through the foundation of Lokumal Kishinchand Charitable Trust in 1980.  This trust is focussed on providing immediate relief to those in poverty and in medical need.

Our Present

Chellaram Foundation is the initiative of Lal Chellaram, following in a tradition established by his late father and grandfather.  Lal Chellaram is the archetypal entrepreneur – a keen eye for opportunity, the willingness to take risk and with huge energy, passion and ambition.  Chellaram Shipping, started by Lal Chellaram, is now one of the most highly regarded and successful shipping companies in Hong Kong. 

His approach to charity is the same as it is for business.  Undertake detailed due diligence and carry out a cost benefit analysis.  Critically make sure you have the right team or partners to deliver on the project.  If you believe in it, back it unflinchingly and monitor performance tightly.   With no prior experience, Lal established what has become one of the most prominent diabetes treatment, research and teaching establishments in India – the Chellaram Diabetes Institute – CDI.


Established Kishinchand Chellaram Educational Trust to support educational institutions.

The Gateway Of India And Boats As Seen From The Mumbai Harbour In Mumbai, India


Founding of Lokumal Kishinchand Charity Trust to support philanthropic causes in India.

A Cable Stayed Vehicular Bridge That Links Bandra In The Northern Suburb Of Mumbai With Worli In South Mumbai


Founding of Chellaram Foundation in Gibraltar.

Panorama Of Gibraltar Seen From La Linea De La Concepcion


Founding of Chellaram Foundation in India and UK.

Big Ben And Westminster In London At Sunset


Opening of the Chellaram Diabetes Institute in Pune under the banner of Chellaram Foundation India.

Red Fort In Delhi. Unesco World Heritage Site, The Red Fort Is An Iconic Symbol Of India


Established Chellaram Foundation in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Harbour

Our Future

Our future lies in nurturing partnerships with organisations which can that leverage our donations to make the greatest social impact in our areas of focus.  

Money is a limited resource.  We want to make sure that those we entrust with it will get the most out of it.  That they are engaged in our areas of interest and that they have the passion, the dedication and the skills to squeeze the maximum benefit from our investment.  We have been laying down a foundation of relationships with organisations that are undertaking remarkable work in diverse locations.  We now want to build on this to achieve high impact in the 7 Directions that represent our areas of philanthropic interest and in those geographical regions where we are represented.

Our Journey

Our journey taking us from the past into
the future, from one generation to the next,
is underpinned by this timeless philosophy:

“Charity must come from one’s sense of abundance. True charity springs from the sense of oneness between the giver and the recipient. Unless we are able to identify with others, the noble urge to share one’s possession with others will not be felt. Thus, charity is born out of the capacity to restrain instincts of acquisitions and aggrandisement, and to replace these with a spirit of sacrifice. Unless we are convinced of the nobility and worthiness of the cause, charity should not be practised.”

Swami Chinmayananda (1916 – 1993)

Our Charities